The federal government has today reached an agreement with Labor to reduce the renewable energy target (RET), while also maintaining a place to include the burning of native forests as a renewable energy source.

At a meeting held in Melbourne this morning, the two parties agreed to lower the RET from 41,000 GWh to 33,000, thereby exempting trade-exposed industries (such as aluminium mining) from the target, while also scrapping two-yearly reviews.

While the initial target was projected to ensure 20 per cent of Australia’s energy came from renewable sources, federal environment minister Greg Hunt has claimed that the adjusted target will still exceed these expectations, according to ABC coverage.

“It’s an effective renewable energy target of 23.5 per cent,” he said. “So there is a very significant task. There is an enormous opportunity for the renewable sector going forward.”

Meanwhile, a major worry for conservation groups has been fine print within the legislation that could see public forests logged and burnt as a renewable energy source.

The new legislation is expected to go before the senate next week.

For further insight into this legislation, see Frances Pikes’ article on the matter.